Anjani’s “Blue Alert” and Old Navy

Old Navy is currently running ads with Anjani’s “Blue Alert” as backdrop.  They have now ruined the best song on her latest album.  To hear it the way it was meant to be heard, visit her blog with your speakers turned on.

The song lyrics are a poem written by Leonard Cohen.  It is pure poetry, you can read it here.  But if anyone needed proof that Cohen’s poems need someone like Anjani to breathe life into them, this is it.

For starters, the voice for these poems is supposed to be sultry, slow, experienced, and maybe a little bit sad; like a lounge singer.  The Old Navy commercial features a peppy, smug voice.  Did they even read the lyrics?  Right lyrics, wrong voice.  The contrast is jarring.

Then the three women in the commercial add to the dissonance.  They picked three younger models with exuberant strut and youthful makeup.  The only thing they got right for the archetype was the hair (long and straight, no embellishments).  The person singing this song would move languidly, and would be seasoned enough to dispense with the swagger.  Right hair, wrong walk.  Jarring.

Seriously, it is total crap.  WTF were they thinking?  Anjani could have done the whole thing.  Did the producer’s niece need a job, or what?

While I’m at it, I might as well review the rest of the Anjani album.  It is not bad, but “Blue Alert” is the best song by far.  It’s worth it just for that song, and a couple of others like “Innermost Door”, “Never Got to Love You”, “Half the Perfect World”, and “The Mist” are pretty good. 

The others are OK on the music, and not so OK on the poetry.  The lyrics are all Leonard Cohen, and his poetry has gone steadily downhill in the past decade.  So much so that I find his recent stuff downright grating (Book of Longing?  Give me a break).  I don’t even know how many of the remaining songs on Blue Alert were recent, but suffice it to say that I find Cohen to be about as profound as Richard Gere these days, and annoyingly as prolific.

5 thoughts on “Anjani’s “Blue Alert” and Old Navy”

  1. Yeah, could be! It sure sounds similar based on the sample clips on Amazon. That is NOT the voice I would have picked — a sort of conspirational, “ooh you bad little boy, you”, winking/laughing tone. Completely misses the point.

  2. Now, I’d agree they hacked it in the commercial context, but really I find both voices quite apt for this one. I like Anjani’s original chord voicings much better–they’re warm and dark–but the arrangement for Peyroux’s cover is impeccably balanced, and I appreciate her diction. It leaves me with a more intimate impression because of the crispness of her consonants. As for the spirit of the piece, Anjani really blueses the thing: it’s sad and lilting. Peyroux’s cover isn’t what I’d call missing the point (it does come across that way in the Old Navy ad’s cutting of it) because it comes across as the story of someone caught in the same position: it’s one that is irrestible and inescapable, but it will ultimately lead to pain. It’s the same oxytocin/desire fueled impulse, just with the cynical tone of someone who understands their helplessness to overcome this vice. Just my $.02. I don’t mean to offend. They do butcher it in the advert, after all.

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